Bright and fancy fish for a 20gallon?
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Bright and fancy fish for a 20gallon?

This is a discussion on Bright and fancy fish for a 20gallon? within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> My cousin has a spare 20 gallon tall because he moved his turtles to a larger tank so I'm taking it. While I clean ...

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Bright and fancy fish for a 20gallon?
Old 02-23-2014, 03:14 PM   #1
 
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Bright and fancy fish for a 20gallon?

My cousin has a spare 20 gallon tall because he moved his turtles to a larger tank so I'm taking it.

While I clean it up, set it up, and wait for the nitrogen cycle to happen, I am trying to think up what fish I want.

My favorite fish are male bettas, but they're not very community compatible. I've had people tell me they can be, but I don't think I believe them and I don't want the stress of watching a betta like a hawk just in case he goes on a homicidal rampage and I also don't have anywhere to set up yet another tank to separate it and I'm also not very interested in a sorority.

I do want at least some very bright and flashy fish. I got interested in killifish, but they need more acidic water and my water is 7.6 or 7.8 out of the tap and I'm not sure if I want to or can manage changing the pH and keeping it consistent.

I hate guppies at this point (getting rid of every single one of those breeding buggers) and want to avoid them.

I'm interested in having sand and getting some corys for bottom feeders.

The tank will definitely be planted. Thinking of having a dwarf lily as the centerpiece because they're my favorite plant. I will probably throw in bits from my other tanks so it will include some of the following: hornwort, brazilian pennywort, java moss, guppy grass, banana plant, creeping charlie, marimo moss. The plant set-up will be more on the low-light/low-tech side.

I might have driftwood. I like the look of driftwood but everyone in my family complains about the tannins because it makes the aquarium the color of pee for a while.
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Old 02-23-2014, 04:25 PM   #2
 
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The smaller tall tanks are difficult. You don't want to put cories in there, they need a 20 gallon "long" tank. Most fish prefer long over tall, bettas included.

Uh, at this point the only thing I could really suggest for a tall tank is Endlers...like guppies but friendlier, usually no bushy tails, and males get along fine even with less or no females in the mix. You want no breeding, get all boys. lol Easy to tell males from females here. Black bar endlers are really nice, so are the Japan Blues. There are all manner of color varieties for them, from white to black and much of what is in between. The males tend to stay around 3/4 and inch to an inch long or so, provided you don't get guppy/endler hybrids, and you could likely fit a nice little group in there of eight to ten or so.

I don't know of any other fish that would be ok in tall tanks, especially not the smaller ones, but cories and betta are a terrible, awful idea for tall tanks because they both need to get up to breathe and hate the distance, it's not good for them. You don't want any labyrinth or extremely active fish in a tall tank....though Cardinal Tetras are a MIGHT you'd have to ask someone who knows them better. I've been told they are a school loving bunch that like to be tight and not as active...however my particular group of cardinals I used to have were fairly active, but they did tend to only take up half of my 55 gallon long tank, which is still more room than your twenty tall. lol

You could try selling this tank and going for a long one, THEN...then you would have several other ideas from small tetras, cories, betta, rasboras and barbs and the like, but not in tall tanks.
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Old 02-23-2014, 06:10 PM   #3
 
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Augh, I finally find out I can squeeze a 20g tall on my counter but now I need a 20g long....

A curse upon the previous owners of my house who put a wet bar sink on this counter. No one in the family drinks but it's troublesome to remove because it still has piping even though it doesn't quite work or something or other.
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Old 02-23-2014, 09:32 PM   #4
 
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Bright and fancy fish for a 20gallon?

There are a number of nano fish that will do well in a 20 gallon tank. Main thing to keep in mind is that the fish shouldn't be more than 2 inches long. You could easily keep some blue eye rainbows for the top of the tank, a school of cherry barbs for the middle and a school of dwarf Corys for the bottom. In addition to that you could do some kind of small (but larger than the other fish) centerpiece.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sylverclaws View Post
The smaller tall tanks are difficult. You don't want to put cories in there, they need a 20 gallon "long" tank. Most fish prefer long over tall, bettas included.

Uh, at this point the only thing I could really suggest for a tall tank is Endlers...like guppies but friendlier, usually no bushy tails, and males get along fine even with less or no females in the mix. You want no breeding, get all boys. lol Easy to tell males from females here. Black bar endlers are really nice, so are the Japan Blues. There are all manner of color varieties for them, from white to black and much of what is in between. The males tend to stay around 3/4 and inch to an inch long or so, provided you don't get guppy/endler hybrids, and you could likely fit a nice little group in there of eight to ten or so.

I don't know of any other fish that would be ok in tall tanks, especially not the smaller ones, but cories and betta are a terrible, awful idea for tall tanks because they both need to get up to breathe and hate the distance, it's not good for them. You don't want any labyrinth or extremely active fish in a tall tank....though Cardinal Tetras are a MIGHT you'd have to ask someone who knows them better. I've been told they are a school loving bunch that like to be tight and not as active...however my particular group of cardinals I used to have were fairly active, but they did tend to only take up half of my 55 gallon long tank, which is still more room than your twenty tall. lol

You could try selling this tank and going for a long one, THEN...then you would have several other ideas from small tetras, cories, betta, rasboras and barbs and the like, but not in tall tanks.

I agree with everything, except the idea that a 20 high is a "tall" tank. Tall is relative and it is certainly an acceptable height for any labyrinth fish, being a mere 14 inches of water depth. And I disagree with the last part entirely.
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Old 02-24-2014, 05:22 AM   #5
 
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Go with the 20h, there's plenty you can do with it. I wouldn't have 5 of them racked up if they were useless, they'd be swapped out in a hurry. I bred the hell out of apistogramma cacatouides in a 20h, there's some color for you, most any dwarf cichlid will work in there. Corys will be fine in there, had green aeneus breeding in a 20h, pandas for a little bit as well. If you can work out the footprint for a 20l you may as well go with a 29, same footprint, a whole lot more you can do with that.
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Old 02-24-2014, 06:31 AM   #6
 
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Well they're not useless at all, just few -prefer- that type of space.
However, you're right it is an acceptable height to swim up for cories, betta really don't like tall though. However...WHERE is the swimming space? There's what? Less/similar swimming space than a normal ten gallon? Even for pygmies that's pretty tight, the little guys do like space and shouldn't be kept in anything with less room than 15 gallon long tank has. Mine zoomed around my 55 like race cars, I tried keeping them in a normal 20 gallon and that seemed to be barely ok for them since they prefer "Long" tanks. Yes it is do-able, but it is not preferable to them. You can go ahead and give that all a shot if you like. I personally wouldn't, but that's just me, and this me hates minimums and the like...so I can be a tad picky at and about it. ^_^;;
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Old 02-24-2014, 06:41 AM   #7
 
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A 15 long has the same footprint as a 20h, I've got a stack of 8 behind me waiting for basement room for rack building. A 15h has the same footprint as a 10, I have one of those racked above a pair of 10's.
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Old 02-24-2014, 07:03 AM   #8
 
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Alright! Now we're talking something new then, pygmy cories and a nice school of other smaller type fish may be in for you afterall. =) I suppose I should have requested dimensions, since I've seen a couple types of tall 20 gallons, and most barely had the space of a ten gallon.
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Old 02-24-2014, 07:12 AM   #9
 
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A 20xh has the same footprint as a 10, 30xh the same footprint as a 15l or 20h.
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Old 02-24-2014, 07:30 AM   #10
 
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The standard 20 gallon tank is 24 inches long and 12 inches wide, it's not new. A 20 long is 30 inches x 12 inches. A standard 10 is 20 inches long by 10 inches wide. There are 3 types of 20 gallon tanks - the 20 long, the 20 (aka 20 high/tall) and the 20 extra high/tall. The 20 extra high is not at all common. Perhaps that's the only 20 gallon you've seen? Otherwise I don't know how someone could thing there would be less swimming space in a 20 than in a 10. It would have to be a ridiculously shaped tank for that to be true. I feel like we have gone over all of this before.....

Yeah I hate "minimums" too.

Last edited by Chesh; 02-24-2014 at 10:04 AM..
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